Today, millions of people in 120 countries are marking Safer Internet Day. The European Commission and leading digital players -tech and telecoms companies, broadcasters, NGOs and UNICEF– have committed to work towards curbing harmful content, conduct and contact in an Alliance to Better Protect Minors Online.
Telefónica is one of the companies that promotes this initiative. “Connected technologies are fundamental tools in education, relationships, leisure activities, and ultimately, in human development during children and youth. That is why Telefónica is committed to fostering an environment in which young ones can use them safely”, explains Geert Paemen, Director of Sustainability and Management of Intangible Assets at Telefónica.
The multinational company, which was a member of the CEO Coalition to Make the Internet a Better Place for Kids, is convinced that only by joining forces will we have a better internet. Consequently, it is participating in the new partnership, sponsored by the European Commission.
Telefónica is also participating in other initiatives within the industry, with the aim of redoubling efforts to achieve a common goal: to provide the best possible online environment for children. In addition, it is a founding member of The Mobile Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Content, and as such, we proactively proceed to block this type of content, following the guidelines and list provided by the Internet Watch Foundation. We have also been a member of the ICT Coalition since 2012, whose field of collaboration was reflected in the ICT Principles for a safer use of the internet by children and teenagers.
Furthermore, Telefónica provides specific tools and engages in awareness-raising to protect children. It did this first with Digital Family, launched in 2012, whose objective was to promote digital education and help parents and educators to have their questions regarding ICT answered, and now with the launch of Dialogando (Conversing), a portal aimed at helping people of any age to make the most of their digital life.
The digital world offers endless opportunities, but it is also a place where young people may be exposed to violent or disturbing content, strong language or hate speech or become victims of cyber-bullying, or sexual harassment. Last year, 82% of UK 13 to 18 year olds were confronted with online hate.
Statement of Purpose
In the Statement of Purpose, announced today, companies agreed to curb harmful content, harmful conduct and harmful contact (such as cyberbullying, sexual extortion and exposure to violent content), through three strands of action:
- User-empowerment to promote enhanced use of parental tools, content classification and other tools for online safety. Reporting tools will be provided in a more accessible and user-friendly way. Companies will also focus on improving follow-up measures such as feedback and notifications.
- Companies commit to intensify cooperation and sharing of best practices, also by taking account relevant input from NGOs, civil society, European, national and local authorities and international organisations.
- Members of the Alliance intend to scale up awareness raising and also to promote and increase access to positive, educational and diversified content online.
This could prepare the ground for more formal self-and co-regulatory mechanisms which the proposal for a revised Audiovisual Media Service Directive seeks to promote. It complements the Code of Conduct and commitments to combat the spread of illegal hate speech online announced by the European Commission and IT companies last year.
One third of all internet users worldwide are below the age of 18, and 68% of 9-16 year olds have at least one profile on a social network. Safer Internet Day, launched by the European Commission in 2004, is celebrated in over 120 countries across six continents. In 2016 alone it reached 2,8 million children, 2,5 million parents, and up to 400 million people on social media. Safer Internet Day is coordinated by the Insafe/INHOPE network thanks to funding from the through the Connecting Europe Facility. The European Commission’s Safer Internet Programme, operating under the Connecting Europe Facility, finances a network of Safer Internet Centres in 27 Member States, Norway and Iceland.
In the Digital Single Market Strategy, European Commission promotes an inclusive digital society, where people have the necessary skills to go online and do so safely. Through its Strategy for a Better Internet for Children, the Commission coordinates initiatives to be undertaken by the Commission, Member States and the whole industry value chain.
>> For more information: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/self-regulation-and-stakeholders-better-internet-kids